Apple Thinks Exclusive Content Will Make Their Streaming Service Succeed

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TIDAL’s exclusives don’t seem to be working perfectly.

Madonna’s TIDAL “exclusive” behind-the-scenes video keeps getting re-uploaded to YouTube.  On the other hand, I wasn’t able to find a non-muted YouTube video of Rihanna’s exclusive “American Oxygen” video.

Apple is adopting a similar strategy to TIDAL.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has asked Florence and the Machine and over a dozen other artists for exclusives. They’ve also asked Taylor Swift and other artists about partnerships.

Apple’s new streaming service will cost $9.99 a month for individuals and $14.99 a month for families.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more: @nine_u

26 Responses

  1. Wooly

    when it comes to digital music and exclusive content, Apple needs to read a history book.

  2. Sarah

    I think there’s a lot of potential for monetizing early access and exclusives …. but not this way. Hopefully Apple will pay attention and use this as a learning opportunity.

  3. superduper

    ‘Exclusive’ in its purest form cannot exist anymore. Nothing is ‘truly’ exclusive. Everything will exist in some other form.

    • FarePlay

      Does this come as a surprise to anyone? Yes, it is a powerful strategy and probably the most effective one to gain subscribers. This will apply to new releases and re-issues and not just superstars, but niche bands who are interesting in the potential of selling product.

      The piracy card will become less of a trump card as Congress makes changes to outdated, ineffective laws. Will piracy be tamped out? Never. But Tidal, Irving Azoff and others will intensify the spotlight on YouTube as business that is gaming the system to do what they want.

      The misconstrued revolutionary rhetoric of piracy is wearing thin, perhaps not in third world countries, but in those countries with a once vital and now struggling tradition of creativity.

      • superduper

        What I mean is that true exclusives are not actually exclusive. What’s stopping iTunes from selling it? I’m just saying that it’s not going to happen. Exclusivity is based in myth, a false sense of scarcity and why that is flying under the radar is most interesting to me.

        • FarePlay

          Piracy is not flying under the radar. Tidal is proving that as will Apple Beats when they pull the same shit. Apple is no fan of Google and certainly no fan of YouTube.

          Exclusivity is not a myth, even with piracy. Piracy dilutes the impact, but it doesn’t eliminate it. It may be hard for you to believe or understand, but there are a lot of people who will not use nfringing sites. Those who do are sadly collateral damage.

          • superduper

            I’m not even talking about piracy. I am talking about legitimate music sites like the iTunes Store and other music stores. Beyonce’s album was not an iTunes exclusive. You can buy it on Amazon for instance or at your local Best Buy or whatever. The fact is that Tidal is not going to be the ONE AND ONLY place where you can listen to it. That, I think, is actually quite unrealistic.

      • Anonymous

        “The piracy card will become less of a trump card as Congress makes changes to outdated, ineffective laws.”

        LOL. Congress actually doing something? HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  4. JTVDigital

    iTunes’ exclusives are very common.
    It’s always been used, so basically what they say is that they won’t change their content-related strategy since it has worked so far. Fair enough.
    What works for iTunes does not work for others, that’s the point, because they largely dominate the market while others not.

  5. Anonymous

    Exclusives are annoying and I think piss off more people than gain new customers.

  6. Me2

    Not surprising, it’s just business, and a good strategy that works when the market isn’t undermined.

    There is something that bothers me about the logic that because a song is on one site, that it should be on all of them.

  7. Yep

    In the physical world, it would be like telling a customer you have CD in the store room but they cannot have it.

    The label could press ‘submit’ for Spotify, but they don’t want to. Why? To make more money…

    It’s pisses people off.

    It’s just stupid.

    • Me2

      Methinks more like ‘Target has the CD, but Walmart doesn’t’

      • superduper

        It’s actually very different. You cannot compare the two because the ways that they are sold are fundamentally different. In this case streaming services have a monthly fee, so you will have to pay a monthly fee every time you want to listen to an album, whereas buying a CD is a one-time payment, so you have to only pay once in order to listen to it. In a sense, you have to be perpetually committed to a streaming service (Tidal, instead of Spotify for instance) instead of temporary consumer choice (Target, instead of Wal-Mart for instance). If you think about it being bound a monthly subscription is worse for competition because it involves a higher sense of commitment to a monthly fee or some sort of subscription instead of individual transactions.

        • Me2

          Well said, and you are right that a monthly subscription service really can’t be compared with buying a CD. In fact, downloads are a more parallel comparison between the digital and physical.

          It becomes obvious that there are going to be differences in catalog between streaming services. One service hosting everything ever recorded legally available, while theoretically possible as a technical ideal, is unrealistic with the current models.

          Of course downloading a song or buying a CD when available are still very much options today.

          • superduper

            It’s true, and the fact is, the goal of selling streaming subscriptions is to be inherently monopolistic. Think about it: if you can sell access to every song that has ever been recorded that basically means that you are holding a monopoly on music in general. Interestingly enough this really only holds true to services that are paid subscription-only services. One of the major flaws with holding a standard to having paid only subscriptions instead of free ones is that it is inherently anti-competitive. You may be able to pay $10 per month on a streaming service, but in order to make that price worthwhile, EVERYTHING needs to be on that one music service or else you will have to pay another $10 per month in order to listen to other songs on other services. Think about it this way: even though iTunes is the predominant seller of downloaded music, there is still competition, like from Amazon and Google Play. But with something like Tidal or paid subscription Spotify, you will need an extra $30 to listen to all the music on both Tidal and Spotify. It’s just a screwed up system is what I’m saying.

          • Me2

            Agreed and well stated, a service that has everything is a monopoly insofar as no other competitor has the same.
            Arguably, YouTube is closest to this now. And while their operation relies on legal argument, the fact is that much of the content is infringing.

            It’s also true that the consumer is going to have to subscribe to multiple services if they don’t find everything they need on one. Even if it’s only for one song, a customer ends up paying for a bunch of other things they didn’t care for. Sound familiar?

            This in contrast to cable TV services which the public fought long and hard to get UNBUNDLED! Yet music sales efforts are striving for the biggest catalog consolidations. Also not a strict analogy, but a bit of a laugh nonetheless.

            There might be new ways in the future, a net wide content ID with micropayments… Could change the structure. But of course getting this stuff to work and getting enough parties to agree is always going to play a crucial factor.

          • superduper

            It does sound familiar. I actually thought you were talking about cable at first, but I realize you are talking about bloated CDs with lots of filler that were (supposedly) common in the late 90s/early 2000s. Thankfully, though, 2 things have happened
            1) The quality and focus of a lot of albums have improved (albums tend to be a bit shorter now and overall more concise, even though there were albums like this in the late 90s/early 2000s)
            2) iTunes fixes this problem because unlike earlier times where there were only a few select hits that were a single, EVERY song is a single on iTunes (except for, of course, ones where you have to buy full albums). That’s why I like iTunes, for song downloads.
            (Although I don’t like iTunes for buying albums because I feel like I’m getting nothing out of it. I could pay the same price for a CD and I could get everything that iTunes gives me and more.)

            The thing is there are many, many worthwhile albums out there spanning decades of music and unfortunately I don’t think consumers realize this.

            Also, I really don’t think there is any new ways like you mention. Micropayments already happen and they are not enough. I think that streaming as pure rental for a limited time only is the future.

          • Me2

            Good point. There are many tightly focused records, especially from the vinyl era with time limitations. True that there were also some great CDs and the ‘filler’ narrative is perhaps a bit sticky.

            I guess what i mean by micropayments (as opposed to micropayouts) would be a true per spin paid in realtime to copyright holders. ID facilitated by neutral directory service. Decentralized as opposed to blanket approach.

            But this is a bit like talking about downloads and subscriptions in the 90s. The stuff is too far off and uncomfortable.

          • Sarah

            That’s similar to what we’re doing with micropayments (the primary difference being logistical – doing this “net wide” is virtually impossible at this point in time).

            Markets and consumer behavior in this space move much faster than in the 90s – I don’t think it’s very far off at all. 🙂

          • Me2

            That sounds promising, and it’s very true that things are moving much faster now 🙂

  8. I

    Apple already has a great deal of power and control over labels and artists. This idea of exclusivity could make them a “monopoly” depending on how far it is taken and how willing the majors are to play. Labels and artists should be making strategic decisions at retail that will allow THEM to keep control, not the retailer.

    • FarePlay

      Too late. The labels gave their business and the business of their clients to interactive streaming companies. The best we can hope for is a benevolent dictator and the most promising entity in that category is Apple.

      They have a serious advantage over the rest of the pack. They make a lot of money off the hardware that plays the music and don’t have to squeeze the creative community dry, unless their board of directors and stockholders force them too, or they lose sight of the cost of creativity.

      Something nobody else considers in the tech space, where innovation and gadgets are God.

  9. Brit

    Baffling. Lets lure music fans to a service, make them sign up to get exclusive content then once they get used to that artist then the artist does a deal with another service.